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A cheap summer holyday is the dream of every tourist

26 June 2010 / 13:06:30  GRReporter
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Emanuela Karastoyanova


One of the main sources of income for Greece, the tourism this summer is bound to a "heavyweight" fight. As it could have been expected the crisis in the country gave its reflection also in this "sensitive" area. In an atmosphere of chaos and poverty, and since recently also blocked ports the incomes of the travel agencies dangerously fall. Job positions are being lost and also... tourists are being lost.

Although prices of hotels in Athens and Thessaloniki fell by 12% and19%, respectively, compared with June last year agencies already alert of a significant drop in their turnover. For example for the Halkidiki peninsula the period is expected to be the most difficult in recent years. The decrease in turnover compared to the previous year amounts to 30%.

Not like this, however, is the situation with the holidays on the islands. According to data from the web site for comparing hotel prices prices of hotels on the Greek islands have risen on average by 5 percent since May. So in June for a room in a hotel on the island of Rhodes those who wish to come on vacation will have to pay an average of 77 euros, on the island of Mykonos 113 euros, on Skiathos  83 euros, on Paros 94 euros and on Naxos  65 euros.

About the situation in Athens, and about where and how Athenian citizens traveling this year we spoke to Chrisis Vatikioti, managing director of travel agency ARMA. "This year can not compare at all to the last one. We are an old agency since 1967. I have seen many situations in the marketplace over all these years. Companies are not shaken yet. Those who are most in trouble are in trouble for two reasons. The first is the Internet, the second is the crisis. Imagine that before every Christmas, New Year, Easter, etc. we were selling about 60-90 packages. We are talking about families or couples. Not about 60 people. This year, on Christmas and New Year with great efforts we sold 9. And only 4 for Easter. There is no demand anymore. Nobody comes to ask us what we are offering, what promotions we have. Although just to ask us only one question. I will give you an example. Last year at this time each day we gathered around 30,000 euros. Today we collect about 6-7 thousand... There is no demand. There is a slight demand for cruises but fearfully. We had some customers who purchased a package and when they returned they told us they were not satisfied. It had been very poor. There was food, but not varied. This 3 days cruise cost 256 euros. Apparently the organizers were trying somehow to reduce their costs. This could be seen also in the staff. It was a Greek ship on which except for the captain, no one else spoke Greek."

About what is happening lately with the Greeks Chrisis Vatikioti commented: "Generally a regressive trend is observed in the mentality of the Greek. He has been seized by fear and doubt. I do not think he has no money. He has, but he is "retracted". He is looking to have money not only today but also for other day. Of course, this is logical, but not quite so much. I do not think the situation is that bad. Moreover the Greek has some harmful habits. Some people live on the back of others and now is formed this "veil" of fear. I think though that things are exaggerated .... Otherwise Greeks travel to all islands. Paros, Mykonos, Santorini. And Crete and the Ionian Islands are also of interest. However, there is a demand for good offers. If there are no such offers people leave and think what to do. They come again and ask if there is something cheaper and so on."

A Vip Travel employee on the other hand said: "The crisis can already be felt, but we do not know to what extent it will affect the holiday travels. Our packages are not so expensive. We have very attractive offers. 4 nights on the island of Santorini for 130 euros with breakfast included. The offer valid until 15, 20July. On the island Paros we have an offer for 4 nights and tickets for a ship for the total price of 149 euros. Where would you find cheaper?" According to the words of Panagiotis there is a demand for almost all the islands: Paros, Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Co, Rhodes, Skiathos, Skopelos, Lefkada, Zakynthos, Kefalonya. He believes that Greece is not expensive, especially this year. But "when you want to have good quality service you have to pay" – he claims and tells me painful stories about Germans and Englishmen cheated. "For example it is much cheaper to buy a package from England rather than from here. And even appeared the phenomenon of Greeks making reservations for hotels in Greece from England. It is cheaper. Everything is done over the internet by credit card. The Greek pays the travel agency in England, it sends the voucher and he goes to Santorini for 10 days. This is a very big wound for the Greek tourist agencies. But the question is what does the tourist get for this price ... Here, today I had a conversation with a friend who told me that a group of Germans have come to Rhodes. The agency in Germany told them that "whatever you eat and drink is paid for". But ultimately everything was horrible and no one left happy. Well with such low prices what did they expect to receive? Similar is also the situation with England. It is really very cheap, but the quality is the lowest possible. They are lying to them, what do you think? They write many things only to catch customers. On offer, the Englishman is told he would eat schnitzel and he is served four small meatballs. Their prices might be lower than ours, but where are they taking the people? And do you actually think that those who travel know where they are going? "- asks an almost rhetorical question Panagiotis ...

Tags: tourism holyday Greece islands toursit agencies crisis
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